Leeds sack David Hockaday

  • Last Updated: August 28 2014, 19:55 BST

Leeds' experiment with David Hockaday ended after just six games on Thursday as owner Massimo Cellino sacked his head coach.

David Hockaday: Sacked as Leeds manager
David Hockaday: Sacked as Leeds manager

Fifty-six-year-old Hockaday was a shock appointment by the Italian on June 19 and now, 10 weeks later, he has lost his job.

Hockaday - who listed Forest Green as his only managerial experience prior to taking the Leeds job - has lost four of his six games in charge.

His end comes the day after an embarrassing 2-1 defeat to Bradford in the Capital One Cup and four days after Cellino backed out of a decision to sack him in the wake of a 4-1 humbling at Watford.

Cellino said at the time that he had chosen to blame himself and not Hockaday, but the man known in Italy as the 'manager eater' has now pulled the trigger for a third time since arriving in Yorkshire in January.

"I'd like to thank David for his efforts over the last two and a half months," Cellino said.

"But the results since the start of the season have meant we needed to act and make this decision.

"After the defeat at Bradford I realised that my decision to keep David at the club following the defeat at Watford was wrong, and I had to change my mind on the coach's position. As a club we will now begin our search for a new head coach."

Hockaday's assistant, Junior Lewis, has also lost his job and Neil Redfearn will lead the team against Bolton on Saturday.

Hockaday was never welcomed by Leeds fans on account of his limited managerial pedigree and unfavourable chants started against him just four matches in.

At Valley Parade on Wednesday, all four stands chanted "you're getting sacked in the morning" at a man who has extensive coaching experience from his time with the likes of Southampton and Watford.

It was not quite the morning when the axe fell, but the taunts were prophetic, with Cellino - who went through 36 managers in 20 years with Cagliari - deciding enough was enough.

Hockaday had been scheduled to give a press conference at 10am on Friday but will now be clearing his desk.

It was not an outcome he envisaged - or publicly at least - after the Bradford loss.

"My emotion is one of determination. I'm not a quitter, I'm a fighter," he said.

"I just feel that for myself and my team things aren't going our way. In the dressing room they're devastated - and yet they're all saying 'we'll turn this around.'

"We're looking at Bolton on Saturday and we'll be in (for training, on Thursday). We're getting some bad press at the moment, some of it self-inflicted, but anyone looking at those white shirts knows we've put a shift in."

Hockaday took training on Thursday morning and was then told to leave the club.

With Cellino's stated desire to have a say in the running of the club's transfer policy, it remains to be seen how many respected coaches will be interested in replacing Hockaday, who was appointed after Cellino was given a tip about him in a hotel by a man he claims not to remember.

Cellino's long-term friend Gianluca Festa is likely to be mentioned - Cellino had him overseeing Brian McDermott's reign either side of the two times he sacked him - while Benito Carbone could also return to the club having been dismissed from an unpaid role earlier this month.

Rolando Maran and Ivo Pulga - Italian coaches Cellino knows well - may also be considered, although it is understood academy boss Redfearn has no interest in taking the job himself.

LEEDS MANAGERIAL CONTENDERS (Odds correct at 1950 BST on 28/08/2014)

Gianluca Festa (12/1 Sky Bet)

Former Middlesbrough defender Festa is a long-time friend of Cellino and was the man who caused the president's initial rift with ex-boss Brian McDermott. Cellino wanted Festa to sit in the dugout alongside McDermott and, when McDermott was sacked for 24 hours in February, Festa was asked to pick a team to face Huddersfield. Not much has been seen of him since but he will be linked and, having overseen McDermott's training sessions, knows a lot of the players.

Gary McAllister (9/1)

A former Leeds captain and manager, McAllister was rumoured to be interested in the job when Hockaday got it in June. Asked about McAllister at Hockaday's unveiling, Cellino reacted with surprise when told the Scot was actually available and not working for a club as he thought. Was at Leeds' loss to Brighton on Tuesday and would be a popular appointment.

Neil Redfearn (12/1)

Redfearn is a lifelong Leeds fan who has earned favourable reviews in charge of the club's academy and has been their go-to man when it comes to caretaker managers over recent years. Has expressed his desire to stay away from the top job but Cellino is a big supporter of the former Barnsley captain and may make it hard for him to say no.

Rolando Maran (5/4)

Italian coach who initially impressed at Catania before being sacked last season. Leeds have a number of ex-Catania players on their books and 51-year-old Maran is already being linked with the job in Italy.

Ivo Pulga 

Appointed by Cellino as a little-known coach at Cagliari - to the derision Hockaday's appointment was greeted with - before swapping jobs with assistant David Lopez. Was then sacked but called back as head coach when Cellino removed Lopez, only to be fired again. Has a long history with Cellino and is likely to be mentioned.